How to create a happy Home Office.

With the world being the strange place that it is at the moment, you maybe have been suddenly forced into working from home, with no time to plan or prepare for it.

What it has shown is that a large number of people CAN work from home, and may continue or decide to do so in the future when life returns to “normal.”

HOW ARE YOU WORKING FROM HOME RIGHT NOW?

The likelihood is that you’re probably working from the kitchen or dining room table, the sofa, or dare I even think or say it- your bed!

But do you have a space within one of these rooms where you can rejig the furniture and create some designated desk space to allow you to try and separate your work and home life?

HOW COULD YOU WORK FROM HOME IN THE FUTURE?

Maybe you have a spare room that was once a storage dumping ground, an existing garden shed that can be converted or if you’re lucky enough- space in the garden to erect a gorgeous log cabin to create a home office on your doorstep?

WHAT YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO WORK FROM HOME.

Every person, job role and company are different- but the main things you’ll need are a desk, a chair, good lighting, storage and the ability to separate your work and home life.

START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.

The shops are shut, so you might have to get creative right now and make the best of what you already have. Try and separate work and home life though. Get up at the same time you normally would and reserve the lie ins for the weekend. Get dressed as if you were leaving the house to go to work. By keeping these small routines you’ll be able to get into “work mode” a lot easier. Stick to your normal breaks, your meal times and try and ignore any distractions. Set timers instead of clock watching. We all need to keep as much normality as possible at this time and this will help us keep our head in the game. If you’re missing out on human interaction then make video calls to friends or family during your breaks.

WHAT CAN YOU GET NOW?

A lot of companies are still open online, but with deliveries increasing so are the lead times. Are online purchases necessary or essential? A lot won’t be- but I also think it’s important to try and keep the economy going too if you’re lucky enough to be in a position to.

Maybe you have more downtime at the moment to look, research and shop for the components required to create yourself an office at home.

A DUTIFUL DESK.

The type, style, size and shape of your desk will depend on what you need it for. Always try and keep it clutter free though- a tidy desk will equal a tidy mind.

If you’re a crafter then you need it large and level, if you’re a writer or work mainly on a computer then a nice bureau style desk will maybe suit you better.

You can choose ready made desks, or arrange a bespoke desk to be made- when you’re allowed to. You could even DIY your own desk with some scrap/salvaged wood and hairpin legs sourced online. Wood will add warmth to your scheme and will match any colour scheme you decide on.

Measure up your room and decide how big your desk actually NEEDS to be. If you have a desk bigger than you need then you’ll find the clutter will creep in!

A CHAMPION CHAIR.

You’re probably going to be sitting in this chair for prolonged periods of time so make sure it’s comfy and if you have a bad back then make sure your choice of chair supports you properly. Depending on the style you’re looking to create, a typical (black) office chair with swivel legs and a high back might appeal to you.

But you don’t HAVE to have a designated office chair in your space. Think about how you actually work, how you’d like to work and see if a cocktail chair with more luxurious feeling fabric, or bar stools to match your chosen desk height would suit you better. Have fun with it, and maybe choose a stand out colour that makes you smile?

SHELVING & STORAGE SOLUTIONS.

You’re going to need somewhere to store your books and business related items. Maybe some plants and decorative accessories to inspire you too. If you’re a neat person then open shelving will suit you and help create a tidy structure where you know where everything is.

If you’re a messy pup, then think about shelving with doors so you can hide your mess away and it won’t interfere with you psychologically.

Do you need floor to ceiling shelves- allowing you to maximise the height of your space and make the room look taller? If you have high ceilings then how about having a cute little library ladder to help you reach (I’d LOVE this!)

Or would a couple of open shelves or shelf units above or near your desk suffice? Do you want to create modular shelving combinations as seen in that Swedish furniture showroom we all know and like for example, or would you like something a little more upmarket and bespoke- with cupboards on the bottom to help hide clutter? If you’re buying flat pack and want to add some personality then wallpapering the backboards of your shelves is a good way to cheaply add interest and personality.

You could go with full width wall shelves to increase your storage and display area and this will also make the room look wider.

Chests of drawers will hide away  a multitude of sins and create extra surface workspace if required. If space is an issue then a tallboy unit will maximise the height available without taking up too much floorspace.

Hide as much away as possible. Use old industrial or upcyled filing cabinets for organised paperwork, magazine files, stacked boxes (preferably not see through) or vintage trunks. Label them so you know exactly what’s in them and always try to put things back where you found them so you’re not wasting time in the future.

Use peg boards or corkboards above desks to organise your day and to display any important paperwork that needs your attention so it’s right in front of your nose.

LIGHT UP MY SPACE.

Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, the lighting in your room will make a massive impact on your productivity. One trick I’ve told clients in the past is to get a large mirror and place it on the wall opposite the window. When the natural light enters the room, it will bounce off the mirror and reflect around the room. Go as big as you can, and if you’re a dab hand at upcycling (or want to give it a go) then an old, ornate mirror and paint it in the colour of your choice (go as bold and brave as you want!) is often  a cheap and cheerful choice. You can pick up old mirrors on online selling sites/pages or in charity shops and flea markets. Just make sure you fix it to the wall properly!

For your main overhead light, work out it’s location on the ceiling and consider where your desk or working areas are going to be, as the light will need to reach it and this will define which type of pendant or lampshade you choose. Also get yourself either a desk lamp (if your desk is big enough) or a floor lamp near your desk. Make sure that you flood your room with as much light as possible at the same time to stop your eyes from straining too much.

COLOUR CHOICES.

As you may know, colour psychology is very much on my radar- and for good reason. Take some time to work out which colours you like the look of- but also how these colours make you feel.

You need to be as productive as possible, perhaps more than ever now, and the colour you surround yourself with is so important. Figure out how you need your home office to make you feel- energised, happy, relaxed, positive, productive? And then choose a colour that works for you, not against you.

IN SUMMARY.

There are so many factors to consider when planning or rustling up an office space within your home but hopefully this article will cover the main points. Everyone is different, and this will be very new and no doubt quite overwhelming for some people.

I’m now doing home office consultations online, but if you want to give it a go yourself then I recommend the following online stores as a starter for ten. Whatever your budget you can browse them for inspiration: Argos, Dunelm, Ebay, H&M Home, Habitat, Heals, Homesense, Ikea, John Lewis, La Redoute,  Made.com, Maisons Du Monde.

Also scour Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and to see what’s possible- just type in “Home Office.”

Quirk & Colour Ltd

01273004235

victoria@quirkandcolour.com

“Only Rich or Posh people hire Interior Designers, right?” WRONG!

ADVICE, HINTS & TIPS ON WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER.

MONEY TALKS!

Yes, people often focus on “cost.” But what is the cost to you of not doing anything? Or trying it and getting it wrong?

An Interior Designer rightly deserves to be paid for their services, and you shouldn’t under estimate what you’re actually getting for your money. Their years of training and learning. The service you purchase from your Interior Designer will last long after their work is done!

A solid room design will last at least 5 years if you’re not a slave to current trends that will go out of fashion as soon as they come in. A good way of seeing the value for your money is to divide the designer’s cost of their service over 1,825 days- and the price will start to make more sense!

One price doesn’t fit all people & projects, and therefore an Interior Designer will probably have a range of packages and services to suit different client’s needs, which will be discussed with you at length. Try and avoid asking an interior designer how much it will cost straight away, instead ask them about what packages they offer.

A lot of clients or potential customers hugely underestimate the price or extent of a project- so a good Interior Designer will break down costs and help them see what is needed or absolutely necessary.

Also ask the Interior Designer if they price per project or if they charge per hour, which may add up to a lot more and be hard to keep track of.

An Interior Designer might also offer the chance to spread the cost of the project over several payments.

WHAT THE INTERIOR DESIGNER NEEDS FROM YOU.

A good Interior Designer will focus on getting to know you and your space. They’ll discuss your likes, dislikes, hobbies and interests to get an idea of who they are designing this space for.

They’ll need to discuss your current space, what you need, what you want (which can be 2 very different things!) and maybe mostly importantly, WHY you’re looking to change it. This will then help them to advise you on which package or service suits you best. If you feel that an Interior Designer isn’t listening to you, or that they’re trying to force you into a higher price package that you don’t need, then walk away! Go with your gut.

When first contacting an Interior Designer, it’s a massive help to send photos and as much information as you can give them about the current space. I understand that clients don’t want to waste their time and are keen to know prices upfront- but please bear in mind that there’s so many factors to the Interior Designer’s pricing structure that they probably won’t be able to give you this information up front.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD INTERIOR DESIGNER?

A good Interior Designer really wants to help their clients achieve their dream home (or commercial space) and their motivation won’t be to push you into a sale that doesn’t suit you.

They will listen to their clients in order to create a design that best suits them, but they’ll also demonstrate alternatives and push your comfort zone boundaries- so try and go with the flow and keep an open mind. A good Interior Designer will push their client’s boundaries and comfort zone. A great Interior Designer will know when to stop!

They’ll take time getting to know you and finding out if you’re a good match to work together. A good Interior Designer will turn down offers of work if they believe they’re not the right person for your project- so don’t take it personally as they’ll actually be doing you a favour!

HOW TO FIND A GOOD DESIGNER.

I would recommend an internet search of designers in your area. If they’re in your area, or within reasonable travelling distance, then costs will be kept to a minimum. Have a look at their websites and Social Media chanells. Instagram and Pinterest are very visual and you’ll get an idea of the Interior Designer’s personality and creative flair. 

There are also lots of websites now that act as a match making service between clients and customers- and an internet search will help you find these. Most of these sites require the Interior Designer to pay to accept your details once you create the job. Therefore, if an Interior Designer contacts you through a site like this, please don’t ignore them. Instead explain that you’ve found another designer you’d like to work with or explain that the project isn’t going ahead, etc.

Word of mouth is often the best form of advertising- do you know someone who has used an Interior Designer? Would they recommend them? Can they offer you advice about the whole process? Also check out a designer’s reviews and testimonials- but don’t discount a newly qualified professional who may not have these yet!

Most professionals will have a relevant qualification in Interior Design- such as a Degree or Diploma. But while qualifications are important, there are other factors to consider. A good designer will have a personal style that appeals to you, be versatile, welcome your input and be reliable and trustworthy.

Contact at least 3 designers so you can compare their services- but remember not make your decision basely solely on perceived cost. You will get what you pay for. If you decide that you want to work with an Interior Designer but can’t afford their costs up front, then ask if they offer instalments for payment, and remember the advice about thinking about the long-term cost over 5 years as mentioned earlier.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR OR CONSIDER?

  • Is the Interior Designer insured? Don’t be scared to ask to see a copy of their insurance document. If an Interior Designer refuses or states they don’t have such insurance in place then this should be a red flag.
  • If there’s something you’ve seen that you like or want, or an item that you want to base your whole scheme around then don’t be shy about telling the designer this. They will hopefully appreciate the legwork you’ve undertaken and realise that it’ll make their job easier.
  • Make sure your communication is open and honest. Be confident about telling your interior designer if there’s something you don’t like. They’re not going to take it personally, and they want you to be happy with the finished outcome. After all it’s you who’s going to live with it or use it. Discuss any concerns with the interior designer BEFORE work starts as correcting mistakes afterwards will undoubtedly cost you money.
  • Misunderstandings over costs cause the most headaches in designer-client relationships. Be realistic and don’t underestimate costs of services. Some prior research should help you with this. Talk to your designer as there may be alternative ways to achieve what you want on your budget and they should be accommodating towards you.
  • Enjoy the process! Reach in and enjoy the journey. It should be fun and easy to work with an Interior Designer.

What IS Interior Design…?

WHAT IS INTERIOR DESIGN?

Interior Design is a magical mix of art & science that understands people’s behaviour in order to create functional but beautiful spaces within a residential or commercial building.

A common misconception is that Interior designers are “just decorators” which is certainly not the case. Interior designers use a lot of principles to configure how and where items fit into a certain room to optimise the use of space and light to best fit the client’s needs.

There is a distinction between designing a space and the “fun part” of adorning a space with pretty colours and beautiful things.

In short, Interiors designers can decorate, but decorators do not design.

WHY IS INTERIOR DESIGN SO IMPORTANT?

Whether you realise it or not, we are all affected by our surroundings.

In the UK, the majority of people spend most of their work & leisure time indoors- within an estimated 70% of our time spent within our own homes.

Our interiors influence our mood and wellbeing from the moment we wake up until we go to bed.

WHAT WILL AN INTERIOR DESIGNER DO?

An Interior Designer’s aim is to deliver interiors that match a client’s brief, providing them with a space in which to live or work that is both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. They understand how to plan a space, how to make use of colour, how to choose appropriate furniture, how to make use of lighting and how to work to a budget. They need to provide a realistic timeline for the project, communicate clearly with clients and be willing to overcome any issues in a flexible & creative manner.

An interior designer will plan and supervise the design of your residential or commercial space, which will most likely include the decoration and furnishings. Each interior designer works differently, but in essence they will draw up plans on paper or through computer aided software, create mood boards and colour schemes, offer either consultancy, design only or full project management which will include arranging and directing subcontractors if required.

CAN I NOT JUST DO IT MYSELF?

Maybe you could. There’s a lot of DIY home makeover shows on TV and with Instagram and other social media people are being more visually stimulated than ever.

Some people have a natural instinct for what looks good, a clear idea of what they want and the time and resources to make it a reality.

However, if you’re not up to date with the latest trends or products, or you are kept busy with your career or family or just don’t want the stress of having to think about and implement your project yourself, then seriously consider hiring an Interior Designer.

Interior Designers are trained is varying aspects of design, art and architecture and can work with a variety of styles. An Interior Designer may or should recommend something that you otherwise haven’t or wouldn’t have considered, causing you to push your boundaries and you may end up loving it!

Interior design is considered a luxury service by many in the UK and something that only “posh” or “rich” people invest in. But Interior Design is for everyone- no matter your budget.

When you consider the improvement that this will have on your mood and wellbeing, and then think how this could improve all aspects of your life, you’ll start to think about it differently.

If after reading this article you want to know more then please email me on victoria@quirkandcolour.com or call me on 01273 004235 and let’s have a chat about my favourite ever subject!

If you’re still not sure, then CLICK HERE to take our quiz to see how your home is making you feel!